The Donkey Sanctuary has begun offering donkey assisted therapy to schools in Halifax, Rochdale and Preston following the huge success of previous mobile services to schools for children with additional needs.
The mobile services are run with donkeys transported from Leeds and Manchester to Shirley Manor Primary School in Halifax, Acorns in Preston and Springside in Rochdale where they are ridden, petted and groomed as part of a donkey assisted therapy programme which sees the children benefit physically and emotionally.
Laura Lambert, Riding Instructor at The Donkey Sanctuary Leeds says: “It’s brilliant that we’ve been able to expand our service to new schools in Rochdale, Halifax and Preston. The schools really wanted to use the service, which they had heard so much about, but it was too far for them to travel to. Now that they’ve started using it they love it. The children love it- you can see it on their faces and the teachers say they see a difference in behaviour too. We’re just glad we’re able to reach more children.”
Donkey assisted therapy started at the schools in May 2014. Since then 257 children have been helped by the service.
So far the therapy offered has been ‘taster’ sessions but from September structured programmes of achievement will be offered to monitor the childrens’ progress.
The Donkey Sanctuary aims to expand its donkey assisted therapy service to new schools and residential homes countrywide as part of its vision for a world where donkeys and mules live free from suffering, and where their contribution to humanity is fully valued.